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She went to Kader Primary School then the Macmillan City Technology College (now the Macmillan Academy), one of 15 national City Technology Colleges, next to the A19/A66 interchange south of the River Tees. From 1998-2000 in the sixth form she studied Maths, Physics, Design Technology and Business Studies. At the age of 19 she was awarded 'Young Engineer for Britain', after saving Black & Decker over £1m on a design she did for their Leaf Hog product.
She attended University College London (UCL), where she studied Science.
McGovern started at the BBC doing work experience on the Tomorrow's World programme, before securing part-time employment as a researcher in current affairs. She went on to be main producer for daily financial news on the Today programme on Radio 4, before becoming the lead producer of business news on the BBC's One, Six and Ten O'Clock news bulletins, working with the business editor, Robert Peston.
She continues to be one of the main relief presenters on BBC Breakfast, presenting the main show during the christmas holiday in 2012.
She has done a wide range of activities in her business reporting such as bus driving and visiting shops to discuss rent payments on Christmas Eve 2012.
Steph McGovern is a former champion Irish dancer and still often attends international competitions, where she helps to coach dancers.